Former U.S. women's national team goalkeeper Jillian Loyden believes Hope Solo should be benched. Solo, the U.S.'s current starting goalkeeper, is involved in a domestic violence case. U.S. soccer has defended its decision to allow Solo to keep playing.

By SI Wire
October 06, 2014

Former U.S. women's national team goalkeeper Jillian Loyden believes Hope Solo should be benched. 

Solo, the U.S.'s current starting goalkeeper, is involved in a domestic violence case. U.S. soccer has defended its decision to allow Solo to keep playing and national team captain Christie Rampone said the team supports her.

Loyden, who announced Monday that she would retire from soccer, made her case in a column published in USA Today.

Loyden is the founder of the Jillian Loyden Foundation, whose mission is "to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people by empowering them and help them find value in themselves."

Loyden writes about the death of her sister in a domestic violence case and how she has made an effort to "speak up for domestic violence survivors, victims and their children." Loyden also mentions that Solo is a "personal mentor."

When fans think of the U.S. Women's National Soccer team, they think about gold medals, winning and success. They think of the most successful team in women's sports. They think of the gold standard. More than anyone else, when people think about women's soccer, they think of Hope Solo, the team's star goal keeper.

But U.S. Soccer must be the gold standard beyond the field as well. I believe that individuals are innocent until proven guilty, but in failing to take action against players' behavior off the field, the league is not living up to its responsibilities.

U.S. Soccer needs to send the right message. They need to communicate that domestic violence is never OK and that it will not be tolerated.

Speaking out on these issues is not always easy. Solo is my teammate and a personal mentor. But I cannot stand by as young fans receive the message that this behavior — even if the allegations proved to be inaccurate — can go unnoticed.

A couple weeks ago, Hope broke an international record with an incredible 73 shutouts. But instead of celebrating the new record, the league should endeavor to post a shutout on domestic violence. Our league can no longer turn a blind eye to the allegations that Solo assaulted two family members.

It took my sister's death for me to stand up and speak out. When I looked into my nephew's eyes, I swore that I would not stay quiet anymore. And I will not stay quiet. Because every voice counts. Domestic violence can be stopped. It is preventable. We must end the cycle.

- Chris Johnson

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